Naming Your Characters
Submitted by Compugasm on April 15, 2006 - 00:02
I was digging around in the basement of god-awful comics, when I came upon one that even went out of it's way to give the characters the worst names possible. I'll change the names to protect the innocent, but I'm talking about Dr. Regina Van Beirdorf-Hausladenhoffer. You know, the famous entozoologist?
It just rolls off the tongue, right? Imagine the havoc this causes with text bubbles. Every other character in the strip went out of their way to refer to Dr. Regina Van Beirdorf-Hausladenhoffer (the Entozoologist) often. They never called her just "Doctor", but the full, hyphenated, impossible to remember name each time. I emailed the creator, inquiring about the name of this character, and how it came about. I'd post it, but the explanation I got back was three pages long. It was a history of alternate timelines, marriages, etc... and I should have expected as much. The only comic effect was in the repetition, and overly detailed explanation of everything.
If you don't care about the artwork that goes into making a comic, the writing is all you have left. Figure out what works and what doesn't. In a sense, Dr. Regina Van Beirdorf-Hausladenhoffer is funny, but it doesn't work.
- The repetition humor wears thin, real fast.
- The name is too long and screws with the text bubbles.
- It's impossible to remember.
- If your comic is going to focus on dialog, rather than artistic ability, t must be some amazing dialog to keep my interest, and doesn't piss me off to read it.
I'd go out on a limb, and say that naming characters, really isn't that important. Sure, there's some exceptions. Would "Darth Vader" be less cool if his name was Jimbo Ostrovsky? Most definitely. But, it's the writing which defines a character, not the other way around.